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Tenth Circuit Suspends Attorney for Frivolous Claims

By Robyn Hagan Cain on September 16, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If $16,000 in unethical conduct fines won't scare an attorney into behaving properly before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, perhaps suspension will?

The Tenth Circuit indefinitely suspended Illinois attorney Jerold W. Barringer for making frivolous arguments in a tax lien foreclosure appeal, reports the ABA Journal. Barringer can apply for readmission to the Tenth Circuit bar after one year.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals isn't the only court that's put Barringer on its naughty list: The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals slapped Barringer with a $10,000 fine in 2007, while the Tax Court admonished him with $5,925 in fines for frivolous arguments in tax cases.

How did Barringer fall out of multiple courts' good graces? Arguments like, "the Internal Revenue Service doesn't legally exist" may have played a role. The Tenth Circuit, however, seems most offended by Barringer's refusal to repent. In an opinion issued earlier this month, the court wrote that Barringer "offers no assurances that he will not continue to make frivolous arguments regarding the authority of the Internal Revenue Service if given the chance."

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals requires all counsel, including criminal attorneys appointed under the Criminal Justice Act, to be admitted to the bar of the court. To seek admission, attorneys must complete a form, pay a $200 admission fee, and obtain find a member of the court's bar who will confirm the applicant's good standing.

Once admitted, an attorney does not have to apply for readmission unless suspended or disbarred.

For more news from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, check out FindLaw's Tenth Circuit blog.

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